Empire ($5 Special)

SKU: 724358107029
Label:
EMI
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24 bit remastered reissue in deluxe packaging at a budget price. A masterful blending of progressive metal and rock, "Empire" features two of their best known songs - "Silent Lucidity" and "Jet City Woman". Comes with 3 bonus studio tracks.

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  • Remaster of the band's third album comes with 5 bonus tracks. This one has some of their best toons...
    $5.00
  • Deluxe digipak edition comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the recording and mixing of the album."It is refreshing to see Timo Tolkki making new music instead of in the middle of some controversy. Over the last few years Tolkki has been embedded in a war of words with his former Stratovarius band mates.He has released records with new bands Revolution Renaissance and Symfonia, but both have failed to live up to his past legacy. He is now attempting another new project, Timo Tolkki’s Avalon. His debut, The Land of New Hope is a symphonic power metal opera in the style of Avantasia.This feels exactly like what Tobias Sammet created with Avantasia. Stylistically we are in the same territory, and Tolkki has enlisted the help of some of the best musicians that the power metal genre has to offer. Contributing vocals are Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Rob Rock, Russell Allen (Symphony X), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica). That is a who’s who of singers and they do not disappoint.The album also features stellar musicians such as Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater), Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody Of Fire) and Mikko Harkin (ex-Sonata Arctica).At the end of the day the quality of the talent isn’t the only thing that matters, as the songwriting has to be up to par. Over the years this is where Tolkki has been incredibly inconsistent. For every “Visions” and “Infinite” he has written he has also written “New Era” and the self-titled Stratovarius record.I can assure you that this is the best record Tolkki has written in thirteen years or maybe even in his career. As this is a rock opera, all the songs follow the storyline about a small group of survivors in 2055 A.D. who search for a sacred place known as “The Land of the New Hope” as planet Earth has been destroyed.The bulk of the vocals are by Ryd, Allen and Rock, who all rise to the occasion and sing with much emotion and power. The tender “In the Name of the Rose” is a magical moment. Ryd and Allen are meant to sing together. Allen shows off his vocal range in the chorus that you will no doubt be chanting along with. He delivers a throaty verse before singing a Maidenesque melody line for the chorus. A heartfelt lead by Tolkki puts an exclamation point on an incredible song.The title track is the only song that features Kiske, and he doesn’t disappoint. The almost nine minute epic begins with some gorgeous orchestration and an arpeggiated guitar line very reminiscent of the Scorpions. Kiske's vocals are soaring and he shows why he is one of the most in demand vocalists still at 45.Kiske is that rare singer that is technically perfect, but also has the gift to bring out a special emotion in his voice. This is the highlight of the record and these two legends should collaborate more.It is an incredible comeback story for Tolkki who was all but down and out. I am happy to see him put his demons to rest and release a record that he might be known for when his career is completed.He is enormously talented and I think this is the perfect atmosphere for him, as he doesn’t have a permanent band but only musicians who guest on the album. We know he is a dynamic personality who struggles to get along with band members, so with this unique situation he is the only permanent member.My biggest concern is that Tolkki seems to get bored with projects and moves on to the next one. Someone needs to guide him to stick with the Avalon project and continue to release records under this moniker.The Land of New Hope is Tolkki’s crowning achievement and I am glad to see one of the best guitar players in power metal return to his rightful place at the top of the genre. Let’s just hope he can keep it together." - About.com
    $11.00
  • "Once upon a time there was a guitar god who had grown bored with all his fame, riches and glory. He longed for something more than another multi-platinum selling record. He desired not simply acclaim, but respect. He knew to get it he would have to walk away from the distinctive style that made him popular and wealthy. It was a risk to confuse his band and his fans by making a radical change in his musical direction. But he did it anyway and broke up the classic version of his band, alienating much of his audience in the process.It must have seemed worth it at the time to Carlos Santana. Appearing at Woodstock had announced to the world there was a new guitar hero on the scene, a skinny Mexican who fused elements of rock, Latin, jazz and funky R&B in one soul-stirring stew. Santana delivered on the promise with a trilogy of terrific albums.The initial effort in Santana's amazing adventures in fusion, Caravanserai (Columbia, 1972), is the sound of a band uncertain of its music and its leader equally uncertain of the direction he wants to take them. Following Santana III (Columbia, 1971), it must have puzzled executives at Columbia when Santana presented it to them. While it has its definite highs, the low points of Caravanserai are very low.Gregg Rolle was skillful on the organ, acceptable as a vocalist and totally out of his league trying to fake it as a jazz musician. Rolle simply lacked the feel for this dense, hook-free tunes and soon would leave to form Journey, taking guitarist Neal Schon with him.The record is disjointed as Santana can't fully let go of the Latin rock that made him wealthy and famous. Never the strongest vocalist, Rolle sings on three unmemorable songs. The songs aren't strong and neither is the playing. You can almost feel Santana's frustration. If he were going to succeed in this new path he was on he would need something conspicuous in its absence from Caravanserai.He would need better musicians to play the way he wanted and better music for them to play. Carlos took the first step when he joined with guitarist John McLaughlin for Love, Devotion and Surrender (Columbia, 1972). Santana brought along members of his band and teamed with McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra to produce an eclectic electric guitar summit that perplexed fans, critics and record executives.Welcome solved both problems. David Brown (bass) and Michael Carabello (percussion) were already out by that time and Rollie and Schon were eyeballing the exit sign as well.Santana has always fused the spiritual with the secular and Welcome is as close as the guitarist has ever come to the former with no regard for the latter. Welcome yielded no hit singles and was never conceived as an album rock radio would play. This is Santana's John Coltrane/A Love Supreme moment: creating transcendent, reverent, passionate music conceived and executed by a virtuoso artist without the slightest trace of concern for commercial considerations.The opening drone of the two organs on "Going Home" played by Tom Coster and Richard Kermode build gradually and soar high with grandeur. Santana lays out here and frequently fades into the background entirely. He is finally secure in his own playing and doesn't have to take the lead. His new-found confidence comes from knowing he finally has a band capable of delivering the goods and they do. Welcome is every bit as much of a classic as the first three Santana albums. It sounds great nearly 40 years after its release.The only comparable rock guitarist who altered his sound as drastically as Santana did with Welcome is Jeff Beck, with his career-altering Blow by Blow (Epic, 1975). The critical difference is Beck was taking the next step after a series of unremarkable bands and records that had flopped. Santana was at the peak of his fame when he drastically altered course and followed the path of A Love Supreme in seeking to make music that satisfied his soul, not a record company's ledger sheet.Even Robert Christgau, the noted (and notorious) rock critic/curmudgeon, and former music editor of The Village Voice smiled upon Welcome."More confident and hence more fun than Caravanserai, this proves that a communion of multipercussive rock and transcendentalist jazz can move the unenlightened—me, for instance. Good themes, good playing, good beat, and let us not forget good singing—Leon Thomas's muscular spirituality grounds each side so firmly that not even Flora Purim can send it out the window."Not everybody completely "got" Welcome in 1973. It wasn't slightly different like Caravanserai, with one foot still in rock and another with a toe dipping lightly into not only jazz fusion, but even free jazz. The signature sizzling guitar solos were there, but more restrained and at times even submerged within the collective of the group.The secret weapon is Michael Shrieve's energetic drumming and the dual keyboard attack of Coster and Kermode. They push and pull Santana to go beyond and stop holding back. Some have called the album disappointingly thin and self-indulgent, but that's a harsh assessment. There are no hit singles or any concessions made to radio here. Maybe an adventuresome jazz station would play "Samba De Sausalito," but even the vocal tracks, "When I Look Into Your Eyes" and "Light of Life" feature Leon Thomas' vocals. Alternating between soulful singing and off-the-wall yodeling, Thomas is perhaps the most polarizing of the many Santana vocalists.The other unique aspect to Welcome band was the band's first female member, Wendy Haas, a vocalist and keyboard player Santana plucked from Azteca, the same band he found a hot-shot 17-yr-old guitarist named Neal Schon, the future guitarist of Journey.If Welcome is the summit of Santana's jazz fusion era, Lotus (Columbia, 1974) and Borboletta (Columbia, 1974) are the sound of that era falling off a cliff. Lotus was a mammoth three-record live set that was only available as a high-priced import, but in 1991 Columbia released it domestically whittling it down to two CDs. It's brilliant, messy and at times, total overkill in overlength and Thomas is inept trying to front Santana standards such as "Black Magic Woman." Borboletta showcases a sullen Santana fronting an equally lethargic band and cursed by the ugliest cover art ever to appear on a Santana record. It's the splat of the band finally hitting the proverbial wall.frustrated by tepid record sales, Santana ditched his dalliance with jazz and returned to Latin rock glory with Amigos (Columbia, 1976). Though he was still billed as "Devadip" Carlos Santana he was drifting away from his guru, Sri Chimoy, and would leave both him and jazz behind for the rest of his career. Blues For Salvador (Columbia, 1987) won a Grammy for Best Instrumental and Santana Brothers (Universal/Polygram, 1994) is good, but these are primarily instrumental recordings and not really jazz.The Swing of Delight (Columbia, 1980) pairs Santana with trumpeter Miles Davis' classic quintet colleagues Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter, with Santana's blistering guitar leads replacing the lonely fire of Davis' trumpet, but the result isn't as incendiary as might have been hoped for. Most of the songs on The Swing of Delight are merely star-filled jam sessions lacking the structure and passion of Welcome.Santana has continued to release instrumental albums, but they aren't jazz and since the 15 million-selling Supernatural granted him late career superstar status on him in 1999, he has wasted the better part of a decade chasing similar success minus similar results. The bottom of the barrel is Guitar Heaven, which sounds like the name for a video game but is a pandering mess of classic rock covers.At this point in his life, Santana should be financially secure and has married his second wife, jazz drummer Cindy Blackman. In May he released the 22nd Santana album, Shape Shifter (Starfaith, 2012). With the exception of one vocal track it is a recording of instrumentals exclusively, with just the man and his band and no awkward guest stars crow-barred in except his son Salvador playing keyboards.In an interview, Santana explained why he was taking a break from his overly commercial direction of the past decade."In a lot of ways, yes, because I don't need to accommodate lyrics, and I don't need to accommodate artists. I say this in a funny way, but it's more about letting a Mexican play the guitar, you know?""I'm never going to wait so long to brew 'em like this anymore. I'm going to make sure that I do one album like this and then another kind. I remember reading that John Coltrane would do one Pursuance album, and then he'd do a ballads album where he'd hardly play a solo—he'd just play the melody verbatim."Shape Shifter may be a slight retreat for Santana from pop music and a return to pulling power chords from his guitar, but it's not going to be "Welcome: The Sequel." That was a different man making different music in a different time. The Santana of 1973 is not the Santana of 2012, but that man would not be the one he is now had he not chased his inner Coltrane and made a record as bold, brave and eternally beautiful as Welcome."- All About Jazz
    $7.00
  • Remastered edition. Although it's not my personal favorite of the Camel canon (that would probably be Mirage or Moonmadness) it is probably their most popular. This amazing long conceptual work is augmented by 5 bonus cuts.
    $9.00
  • "From December 1971 to April 1972, Carlos Santana and several other members of Santana toured with drummer/vocalist Buddy Miles, a former member of the Electric Flag, and Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys. The resulting live album contained both Santana hits ("Evil Ways") and Buddy Miles hits ("Changes"), plus a 25-minute, side-long jam. It was not, perhaps, the live album Santana fans had been waiting for, but at this point in its career, the band could do no wrong. The album went into the Top Ten and sold a million copies." - All Music Guide
    $7.00
  • What needs to be said about this album? It's a complete masterpiece. This is the typical US Warner Bros pressing that's been kicking around for years.  CHEAP!
    $5.00
  • "For Flotsam and Jetsam, the heavy metal highway has been sprinkled with nails. First, the band's frontman Jason Newsted quit to seek his fame and fortune with Metallica. Then, after securing a major label deal, Flotsam and Jetsam were cajoled into toning down to appeal to the masses. Eleven years after releasing its classic album Doomsday for the Deceiver, the band returned to the label that signed it, writing more aggressive material than it had in years. High is a declaration of hate, brimming with full-fisted guitar riffs and head-bobbing beats--an unrestrained battle cry from a band that refuses to lay down and die." --Jon Wiederhorn
    $4.00
  • "Panic Room had something of a troubled 2013. Several years hard work paid off with a growing reputation and audience for their powerful and sophisticated mix of rock, folk, jazz and metal. Then their year began with the departure of the lead guitarist, founder member Paul Davies. While Morpheus Rising’s Pete Harwood did a sterling job standing in on their already-booked tour, his commitments to his own band ruled out any longer-term involvement. So they initially announced that they’d be writing their fourth album as a four-piece. Then around the time the band were ready to enter the studio they announced the recruitment of Adam O’Sullivan, bringing the band back up to full strength.In a rock band the lead guitarist can often be as important as the singer, so how would the new-look Panic Room sound?Hard rocking opener “Velocity” with its spiralling guitar riff is close to the feel of their last album, but with the next few numbers a rather different sound emerges. It’s a step away from the rich wall of sound that characterised the last couple of Panic Room albums, with a lighter, more pared-back feel that has as much in common with Panic Room’s acoustic side-project Luna Rossa than it does with 2012′s “Skin”. In places there are echoes of the début “Visionary Position” and the singer-songwriter feel of Anne-Marie Helder’s 2006 solo record “The Contact”, and it’s notable that Anne-Marie has sole songwriting credit for half of the ten songs.There are plenty of moments where the space in the mix gives individual members the chance to shine. There’s some inventive drumming from Gavin Griffiths, and some great understated Fender Rhodes from Jon Edwards across much of the album. Adam O’Sullivan’s guitar isn’t always prominent, though he does have his spotlight moments. Much of his playing has a strong jazz flavour, with some great bluesy rippling flourishes. A good example is on “Nothing New” where his guitar work duels with some equally jazzy piano runs from Jon Edwards. The one moment towards the end of the album where he cuts loose with a rock-style solo, it’s superb. Yet again Anne-Marie’s vocals are everything you’d expect from someone voted Best Female Singer by readers of Prog magazine, hitting the sweet spot between melody and expressiveness.Much of the strongest material comes in the second half of the album. The atmospheric “Into Temptation” with its eastern-sounding vibe is reminiscent of parts of “Endgame” from the band’s début. The following three numbers “All The We Are”, “Searching”, and the soaring “Close The Door” all demonstrate Anne-Marie’s talents as a singer-songwriter.The album closes with the dark and brooding “Dust”, an ambitiously progressive piece sounding like Massive Attack crossed with late-period Led Zeppelin, building on a repeated motif keeps going round and round in your head even after the album has finished playing.At this stage in their career, Panic Room could easily have attempted a retread of the well-regarded “Skin”. But that would have been a mistake, and they should be applauded for not simply repeating a successful formula. It’s not quite perfect; the album might have benefited from one or two out-and-out rockers in the vein of Skin’s “Hiding the World” or Satellite’s “Dark Star” to add variety and raise the energy level. But it does feel like the beginning of a new chapter for the band. This is album by a band not afraid to try something slightly different, and there is much to like about it, especially after repeated listens. It’s still unmistakably Panic Room, but with their sophisticated sound it’s a record with a wider crossover potential too." - Where Worlds Collide
    $18.00
  • "NEWLY REMASTERED EDITION OF THE 1977 DEBUT ALBUM BY CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE ROCK BAND FM BOOKLET WITH FULLY RESTORED ARTWORK & ESSAY. Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a remastered edition of the 1977 debut album by the Canadian Progressive Rock group FM. The band began life in 1976 with CAMERON HAWKINS (Synthesisers, Bass, Vocals) and NASH THE SLASH (Jeff Plewman) (Electric Violin, Mandolin, Vocals) coming together as a duo, making an appearance on national TV in Canada in the Summer of 1976. By March 1977 FM became a trio with the addition of MARTIN DELLAR on Drums. The Canadian Broadcasting Company offered to release the band s debut album, Black Noise on their own label later that year, but the record was only made available via mail order. The following year Black Noise was given a wider release on the VISA label in the USA. This Esoteric Recordings release is the first time Black Noise has been issued in Europe and has been newly remastered and includes an illustrated booklet and a new essay."
    $15.00
  • "Factory of Dreams is a symphonic metal gothic project consisting of Hugo Flores and Jessica Lehto. Hugo produces and creates all the music while Jessica provides her beautiful vocals. Following their album POLES in 2008, Factory of Dreams are back with a new production bringing a whole new epic and progressive feel to the sound crafted on their debut. More complex, heavier, faster and at the same time catchy, this is a huge album, featuring the hallmark of Factory of Dreams, with great melodic sense and shivering moments and a great cast of guest singers and performers. As a highlight, the near 10 minute Epic E-motions, and the beautiful track Sonic Sensations depicting a World created by Sound and Music."
    $3.00
  • earMUSIC is happy to announce the long-awaited final chapter of the successful Savatage re-issues series. Previously unreleased and originally only intended for the Broadway rendition, “Streets: A Rock Opera” - the groundbreaking album by Savatage – is now released including its original narration parts.To complete this extraordinary release and to award the many fans who have shown dedication and love for Savatage’s legacy, the final chapter of this reissue series will feature the band’s favourite videos. Released for the first time on DVD and restored from the original tapes, the video collection spans from Savatage’s 1987’s video ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ until 1996’s ‘One Child’.As on all previous chapters of the Savatage re-issues series, the album includes newly-written liner notes by Jon Oliva, who is sharing his memories about all Savatage videos.Fans looking for unreleased and rare bonus tracks will be happy to discover a lot of extra audio content on the DVD: ‘Shotgun Innocence’, ‘Forever After’, one instrumental acoustic version of ‘Voyage’, live versions of ‘Stare Into The Sun’ and ‘Conversation Piece’ recorded in Japan (but NOT included on the official live CD) and the piano version of ‘Sleep’. The bonus track ‘Larry Elbows’ deserves a special mention: this previously unreleased song didn’t make it on the original “Streets: A Rock Opera” album due to time limits and is finally available to all the fans that never forgot the creativity and the energy of this extraordinary band.“I’m really excited for this version of ´Streets´ to finally be released" – says Jon Oliva – “It was something different, an idea that Paul O’Neill had to take the progressive rock opera format to a bigger and better place than anything we had done, and anything I had heard anyone else doing before. This version of the album has only been floating around on bootlegs.”
    $23.00
  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • New issue of Pendragon's neoprog classic from 1996. Now comes with a bonus live version of "The Last Man On Earth".
    $13.00
  • "Where Permanent Vacation seemed a little overwhelmed by its pop concessions, Pump revels in them without ever losing sight of Aerosmith's dirty hard rock core. Which doesn't mean the record is a sellout -- "What It Takes" has more emotion and grit than any of their other power ballads; "Janie's Got a Gun" tackles more complex territory than most previous songs; and "The Other Side" and "Love in an Elevator" rock relentlessly, no matter how many horns and synths fight with the guitars. Such ambition and successful musical eclecticism make Pump rank with Rocks and Toys in the Attic." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00